Liverpool are bracing themselves for a second offer from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho, as the Catalan club officials are heading to London to hold a meeting with the Liverpool counterparts, as per reports from Spanish outlet Sport (h/t Calciomercato). The Brazilian has become the primary transfer target for the Catalan club, as they seek a player who is capable of replicating Neymar on the pitch.
The 25-year-old is believed to be on the verge of a move to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record £196million (Guardian), as the French club are ready to trigger his release clause. In order to replace the Brazil superstar, Barcelona have identified another Brazilian, in the form of Coutinho – according to the report.
We rejected a first offer, believed to be in the region of £72million (Telegraph). Now, it is expected that Barcelona will improve the offer to around £80million, as per reports from the Mirror. Spanish daily Sport (via Daily Mail) claims that the Catalan club have been made aware that Coutinho will be available for around £89million.
Barcelona are desperate to lay their hands on Coutinho before the start of the new season, as the club are increasingly uncertain if Neymar would stay at the club. Since PSG are ready to do away with any negotiations with Barcelona, they will be able to sign the player by just meeting the £196million release clause.
Coutinho has become one of the top players in the Premier league since making a £8.5million move from Inter Milan in the January 2013 (BBC Sport). At 25 years of age, he is at the peak of his powers and has a contract with the club until June 2022.
Last season, the Brazilian was a key figure in helping Liverpool finish in the Champions League qualification places. He scored 13 goals and an impressive 7 assists in 31 league appearances last term. Manager Jurgen Klopp is aware that it will be extremely difficult to replace a player like Coutinho, who can produce a magic out of nothing in order to secure a victory.
Liverpool have significantly strengthened themselves in the forward positions, with the addition of Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke. But there is little doubt if Coutinho will be the preferred choice for the manager. Yet, it will be difficult for Liverpool to hold on to the player once he makes the decision to join Barcelona. The pull of playing at the Camp Nou will be difficult to resist for the player.
Nevertheless, let’s hope that Coutinho remains loyal and committed to the most historic club in England!